A Weekend to be Thankful

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

This Thanksgiving has to be one of our best so far. We had lunch with Corey's family, and then dinner with my family. We filled our bellies with all of the best turkey, dressing, mac and cheese, and my take on this cheesecake. It was all absolutely amazing! Colette ate as much as some of the adults, and Cullen had a blast playing with his aunts, uncles, and cousins.

Between lunch and dinner, the kids spent the afternoon jumping in an enormous pile of leaves. And what is more fun than a leaf pile?!

We completely skipped Black Friday shopping, like most years, and had breakfast with my family followed by ice skating lessons from soon-to-be Aunt Sarah. Cullen skated until his feet hurt, and Colette wanted to get out on the ice so badly. They can't wait to go back!

For as long as I can remember, we have cut down or bought a real tree on the day after Thanksgiving, but because we are a house of allergy sufferers, we opted for an artificial one this year. After not-so-patiently waiting all day, Cullen spearheaded our tree decorating operation. He hung all of the non-breakables (which all ended up in the same section at the bottom of the front of the tree). I have not even re-arranged them once. (Yay, me!) Colette, on the other hand, thinks the ornaments are there just for her to play with.

After such a wonderful start to the holiday season, I am excited for what the rest of the year holds!

Colette: 17, 18, and 19 Months

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Things have been crazy lately. Work has been a lot busier lately, so some other things have been pushed aside. Like the blog. I completely missed posting anything for Colette at 17 months. I did manage to take pictures of her at 18 months, but again, no post. So we are going to recap all three months now.

At her eighteen month well check, Colette was up to the 45% for height, but only 9% for weight. Still long and skinny. It is getting so hard to find clothes that fit such a long, skinny little girl. But, silver lining, dresses from last year, work as tops and tunics for this year. She eats all. day. long. though, so no one is concerned about her weight. She is happy and healthy.

In other growth news, look at that head of hair! It is still short and somewhat sparse, but it is beautifully red like her brother's. And she wakes up with some pretty awesome bed head most days.

She is becoming more and more independent every day. She can cruise up and down our stairs like it's nothing. She knows right where to go to find snacks (and is not shy about telling us she is hungry). We have given up on using the high chair, and recently purchased a booster seat so she could sit at the table like everyone else. She thinks she can do anything Cullen can do, and certainly tries.

We are starting to hear a few more words from Colette. Up, brother (buh-buh), Papa, and cheese most recently. I feel like we are on the verge of a whole new vocabulary.

She is curious, bossy, sweet, and generous. Queen of the side-eye. She is not afraid to stand up for herself, but is also quick to comfort others who are hurt or sad. Our home is definitely louder, sillier, brighter, and more joyful with Colette in it.

Halloween 2016

Tuesday, November 1, 2016
I think this has been our best Halloween yet. And it might just be Cullen's favorite holiday.

This kids had a stomach bug this past week, and as soon as they were feeling better we celebrated good health and an unusually warm October by heading outside to paint pumpkins. Colette was done in about 2.5 seconds. Cullen carefully picked out each color he used before smearing them on his pumpkin. These masterpieces are proudly displayed in the dining room, where they will stay until Christmas decor comes out.

I think it was back in June when Cullen first said he wanted to be a spider for Halloween, and unlike most three-year-olds, stuck with the spider idea. So naturally, Colette had to be Little Miss Muffet. I will cling to themed costumes as long as I can. 

I fully believe in homemade costumes, partly because it means we end up with real clothes they can wear again with a few pieces to add to the dress up box and partly because I love anything I can make instead of buy. Especially if I get to add fun details like special spider eyes and bunny buttons.

Cullen's costume is made from sweatpants and a sweatshirt they he can wear again. I made spider legs from pipe insulation tubes covered in matching fabric and safety pinned to his sweats. His eyes are painted wooden disks attached with safety pins. He absolutely loved helping me make his spider costume and loved wearing it even more. At every house, he raised his arms to show is extra legs and announced "I'm a spider!" He was so proud!

I made Colette's dress using Made by Rae's Geranium Dress pattern, her socks are from Happy Tights, and her bonnet is from Briar Handmade. I made a simple apron and bloomers, added a pink dress and shoes from Old Navy, and bowl and spoon from Target (with "Curds and Whey" painted on). Her tuffet is the footstool from her room. I am excited for her to wear everything again, except maybe the apron which will go to the dress up box, because she was so cute!

As soon as we finished taking pictures of their costumes, Cullen proclaimed "Let's Halloween!" And so we did. All the grandparents came to hand out candy while we took the kids Trick-or-Treating. We went down a few streets and when Cullen said he was tired and had a bag full of candy, headed back home to take over. Instead of saying "Trick-or-Treat" Cullen told everyone "Happy Trick-or-Treating!" I so enjoyed watching how much fun he had!

As much as the kids like going door-to-door for candy, I think they loved passing out candy even more. Cullen commented on every costume, asked kids what their names are, and carefully picked out specific pieces of candy for each one. He was the first to jump up when the doorbell rang.

We all had so much fun this Halloween and are already looking forward to next year!

A Long Weekend and A Saturday Market

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

It is rare that we have more than just an afternoon with the whole family at home, so we spent most of our long weekend working on house projects. Roughly ninety-three loads of laundry, refinishing furniture for Cullen's room, and cleaning up the one room in our house that has been the junk room for far too long.

We did manage to make some time Saturday morning for a little family adventure to the local farmer's market. We ate the best ice pops, checked out all of the booths and even came home with some locally grown (and locally ground) grits, fresh pasta, and veggies. As the market started to close down, we stuck around a little longer for the kids to explore main street.

This market runs through the end of October, so I'm hoping we can make it back a few more times. Even if we don't bring that much home, its a fun outing that the whole family enjoyed!

First Day of Preschool

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Today was Cullen's first day of K-3. We signed him up back in January, and for at least the first four months, he mentioned every day that he was going to kindergarten and he told everyone he saw. He has been so excited, we thought this day would never get here. 

I expected Cullen to jump out of bed this morning ready to hit the ground running, but like every other child going to school today, I had to drag him out of bed. (He is taking this whole threenager thing seriously!) But once he was up, he was ready for his big day. When we got to school (our church) he ran right into his classroom and didn't even tell me bye. Way to break your Mommy's heart, kid!

I did a lot better than I thought I would. It was a little strange leaving him, but Colette and I distracted ourselves with a trip to the grocery store, and before I knew it, we were on our way back to pick him up.

The only details I got about his day included a story about a bee on the playground (but he didn't get stung!), they had a snack, and did a craft. I want so badly to know every detail about his day. I guess I will settle for soaking up the little bits he does share and accept that this is part of him growing up.

After such a successful first day, I am so excited for the rest of his first year of preschool and all of the things he will learn!

Colette: Sixteen Months

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

I am really starting to see Colette as less of a baby and more of a toddler. Her baby-like mannerisms are going away. She is able to do more and more on her own, and even though she still doesn't say more than the same few words, she communicates her wants and needs very well.

Aside from pointing at what she wants, which she has clearly mastered, she answers questions with nods or head shakes (and the occasional "yeah"), she says "up" and raises he arms if she wants out of the highchair or to be picked up. She follows commands, as well as any toddler can: sit down, bring me that, don't feed that to the dog, etc.

She also knows when she needs a diaper change and knows how to ask for one. She will bring us a diaper or get a diaper and lay down in the floor and try to take off her bottoms. Which is super helpful, and makes me very hopeful for potty training in the future.

In the past month, Colette has gone from six teeth to at least ten teeth, possible twelve, she won't let me get a good look at her top teeth to get a good count. And she certainly puts those teeth to work. I swear she eats all day long. There are times we have to cut her off because there is no way that tiny little belly will hold anything else!

One of my favorite things about this age is the shift to really playing with toys. Carrying her doll and bunnies around, feeding her doll, and making her bunnies hop. She loves toys that play music; like her brother, she jumps at any chance to have a dance party. She loves to throw and catch balls, drive her brother's cars (complete with sound effects), and has very recently taken an interest in coloring. (Which makes me super grateful for the Magic Eraser. Crayons very easily make their way off the paper.)

I don't think I have ever seen a more fun loving or affectionate little girl. Bedtime takes ten minutes longer than it used to because everyone needs an infinite amount of hugs and kisses. Eskimo kisses are hilarious, and like with everything else she finds funny, lead to the best squeal. She is just so much fun to be around!

Cullen: Three and A Half

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Every day with a three and a half year old is challenging, exhausting, and so much fun!

He is still growing like a weed. I don't know how (he certainly doesn't get it from me or Corey), but he is already wearing some 5T clothes. Apparently a diet of applesauce and peanut butter toast is the perfect recipe for a growing boy.

I don't think there is a timid bone in his body. He always has something to say. And if he runs out of words, he makes up new ones. He will talk to anyone and greets everyone we pass with a friendly "Hey! Good Morning!" on the way into church every Sunday.

And his negotiating skills are something to be admired! Every time I ask him to do something, or tell him what we are doing over the next few minutes (eating, getting ready for bed, whatever), I immediately hear "Well, how about instead we..." It's exhausting and hilarious at the same time.

Most of his days are spent playing with cars or blocks. Anything that as an engine or he can build with. He also still loves to cook, either helping me in the kitchen or playing in his toy kitchen. And of course, being outside always beats out everything else.

Cullen tries to dance as much as possible. From jumping around the living room to head banging in the back seat. And he likes to get everyone else in on the dancing too!

He loves to make others laugh. So silly faces and googly eyes are a regular occurrence around here. Corey says he's a future front man. I'm preparing myself for frequent calls from the principal's office. Only time will tell, but for now, we are fully encouraging his joyful attitude.

Cullen can also be the sweetest boy! (And he almost always is.) I can't even count the number of hugs and kisses I get every day. He is so loving and caring with his sister. His greatest gift seems to be the gift of encouragement. He complements me on everything; from how I cook (even the food that he doesn't eat) to how a particular room looks, to how well I read a book. He doesn't hesitate to encourage others as well.

We love you Cullen! These past three-and-a-half years have been wonderful and more fun than I could have ever imagined!

Colette: Fifteen Months

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

This is our sweet, sassy, bossy, loving, fifteen month old.

It seems like every day Colette gets more and more vocal. She nods yes and shakes her head no. If she wants something she points at it and then herself, over and over until someone gives it to her. And she now babbles all the time. Not a lot of words yet, but I feel we are on the verge of a whole new vocabulary.

And talk about a little one on the move. She is running all over the place, climbing up and down off of furniture. And into everything. No bag or drawer is safe from being unloaded. Messes are a way of life around here.

I think that petty much sums up Colette these days. She is wide open, has the best laugh that she loves to share, she lives her life fully exploring everything around her. And to top it all off, she is as sweet as can be.

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